I’m probably going to end up prefacing every post from our day in Finland by mentioning the weather; it rained in Helsinki. It really, really rained.
The penultimate stop for us on our Baltic Cruise aboard the Crown Princess was the Finnish capital city, Helsinki. When we’d been researching the various destinations on this cruise I’d given some serious thought to not booking an excursion here as most of what we wanted to see seemed to be reasonably easy to get to and possibly even within walking distance of the port given our expected arrival time and scheduled departure time. The exception, though, was the Sibelius Monument (we’re fond of art), set some way apart from other potential points of interest, so to make the best use of our day we booked an excursion that would include it and a few other key tourist spots.
One of the first things I noticed as our coach drove us from the port to Sibelius Park was just how slow everything seemed in Helsinki, especially seeing how little traffic there was. It felt like forever just to get to the monument and we were very pleased that we’d not considered walking or trying to take some public transport there as the rain simply never let up throughout the journey (or, indeed, day). At the monument some people decided that the coach was close enough to see it and chose to stay on but the majority of us got off and sludged across the sodden ground to the sculpture where we proceeded to jostle for shots that weren’t blocked by umbrellas or blurred with rain. What was nice was that none of the monument was blocked off; you’re free to get up as close as you like and to touch it.
The Sibelius Monument was the winning design for a sculpture announced after the composer Jean Sibelius‘s death. While it appears to be an abstract organ this isn’t actually the case and it was simply meant to represent the composer and his music in general. The design was not well-liked when it was unveiled – the addition of the face was a late addition to appease early critics – although popular opinion has changed regarding it in the intervening decades.
A dark grey, metallic structure under a light grey sky does not ultimately make for the most interesting of photos (or the easiest to take when your camera is metering for a near-white background at points) and the rain did not make for the most pleasant of environments to appreciate the artwork and significance of the piece fully. With good weather the monument and the surrounding park would be very pleasant indeed but if you had limited time in Helsinki then I’m not sure I could strongly recommend visiting it because of its isolation from anything else of major interest.
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